Chetty chetty bang bang: step aside Caractacus Potts, Laurie Chetwood's home is a fun palace in the country, near London and not a million miles from Hushaby Mountain.
The original house, which they bought over ten years ago, was a disused holiday home previously exhibited at the 1930 Ideal Home exhibition. The cedar frame and cedar clad kit-house was in need of renovation and expansion, so with a keen interest in exploring natural forms in architecture, he chose butterflies--the dominant species on the site--as his inspiration.
In terms of building forms, a conservatory and guest suite have been built to create a split level link between the existing house and a modest weather-boarded summer house, which now functions as Chetwood's studio. This new link serves as a formal entrance hall--exploiting elevated views across the Surrey/Sussex Hills--as the climax to the route that metaphorically traces the evolutionary life cycle of a butterfly, leading visitors through the encapsulation of the chrysalis, and the vibrant colour burst as wings unfold, before taking flight to the landscape beyond.
Externally, hundreds of metres of optic fibres and irrigation pipes bring life and light to the landscaped terraces, which sit beneath the retractable wing-like canopies. While internally the playful Heath Robinson-like inventiveness continues, with bungee web chairs, a retractable dining table, operable bonnet hip vents, and five rotating screen walls that divide living and kitchen areas. Roach pole fishing rods, rowing seats and skateboard wheels are just a few of the modified objects incorporated into everyday household devices.
Love it or hate it, the house is unique: a playful, inventive and truly scrumptious family home.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Architectural Review|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2003|
|Previous Article:||Ice and fire: a powerful and transient exploration of the powers of the elements in the winter of the North.|
|Next Article:||Moated range: making the most of its magnificent site, this house changes radically with the seasons.|